The United States and the World Powers (the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany), have reached an agreement with Iran to halt and set back its nuclear program, limiting its enrichment capabilities through a 6-month period. In exchange, the international community will seize some of the sanction imposed to Iran and will continue to negotiate its path towards developing a peaceful, weapons free, nuclear program.
What does this mean? First, lets talk some history. In August 1953, the United States backed a coup against the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosadeq, who attempted to nationalize Iran’s oil industries. During the following years, Mohammed Shah Pahlavi came to power and his autocratic government began a process secular modernization known as the “White Revolution”. The corruption, brutality and repression of the Shah’s rule only helped to fuel the claims for power of the country’s conservative religious leaders. In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the Iranian Revolution, overthrowing the Shah’s regime and imposing a new Islamic political system. The same year, thousands of Iranian students overran the US embassy and seized 66 American hostages. Yes, this is what happens in Ben Affleck’s “Argo”. After the hostage crisis, relations continued to deteriorate due to the US support for Iraq in its war against Iran. On the other hand, Iran began to pursue weapons of mass destruction and to sponsor insurgents groups such as Hezbollah. The Clinton administration imposed a trade embargo and policies that implicitly supported regime change in Tehran. Furthermore, despite condemning the attacks of 9/11, Iran was included as one the “Axis of Evil” in a speech by George W. Bush.
Criticized by the Republicans and some member of its own party, the Obama administration began a series of talks with the Iranian government in order to initiate a diplomatic process that would diminish the uncertainty regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions. Israel and other Gulf nations remain skeptical about the true goals of the Iranian government. For Israel, Iran remains a threat as it often challenges its legitimacy as a state in the region. As Israel’s biggest ally, the United States plays a key role in mediating this diplomatic process and addressing the concerns of the international community.
So, the US and Iran are talking, is this a big deal? Yes! Not only are these the first set of talks between these nations in decades, but also it represent a diplomatic, and peaceful, effort of the international community towards a more stable interstate system. How big is it? Not big enough. The next six-month will test the true implications of this agreement, whether it means the first step towards Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and its integration with the international community, or its path towards complete isolation.
En aquel entonces dijo Steve a los inversionistas:
“Que se haga la Corporación como organización dedicada a enriquecer sus riquezas (y las mías)! Que sean la ley y el mercado sus patas, y dejen que su poder de monopolio e influencias en el gobierno sean sus garras. Que no tenga alma ni corazón, no los necesita. Pero si una cabeza elegante y elocuente (que sea removible) preferiblemente. Se vestirá de seda y tendrá un listón dorado con sus valores, los que más les parezcan. La alimentaran los sueños, ilusiones, el ingenio y el tiempo de los pobres hombres de la tierra. Finalmente, venderemos la mierda que excrete al por mayor postor, al por mayor y al detalle, a precio futuro y como pedido especial, como producto de lujo y también de necesidad. Y crecerá y crecerá, y sus riquezas se multiplicaran a costillas de la humanidad. “Pero les advierto” dijo Steve antes de terminar “que aunque remota, existe la posibilidad que un día también a ustedes se los comerá”.
WDF is happening in Korea and should we care about it?
Concerned with all the media buzz about nuclear tests and long-range missiles, a friend recently asked me about what was happening in North Korea. Although at the time I was too lazy to respond, here is what I should have said:
Recalling a bit of history, the division of North and South Korea as separate sovereign states resulted from the Korean War in 1950-1953 and the politics of the Cold War. While North Korea became a single party “socialist republic” with a centrally planned economy that suffers from famine and political oppression, South Korea became a multi-party state with a G-20 capitalist market economy that leads in high tech industries, and suffers from PSY’s Gangnam Style and other artificially fabricated pop sensations.
While there has always been hostility between the North and the South, tensions have recently escalated since North Korea’s nuclear test in February 2013, and even more when it tested a long-rage missile system in late March. North Korea’s defiance has been responded with tougher and tougher economic sanctions from the U.N. Security Council and the decreasing support of China, its strongest economic ally.
“But why are the North Koreans so overly sassy all the sudden?” I guess my friend would’ve asked. It might have to do with its fairly new Supreme Leader, the twenty something years old Kim Jon-un. After the death of his father Kim Jon-il, the food lover and NBA fanatic Jon-un became the strongest political figure in a country noted for its cult of the leader politics. In a discussion during Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on CNN, experts on the issue consistently stressed the fact that the actions of North Korea’s new ruler are intended to consolidate his domestic political figure as a strong bold ruler, campaigning military achievements in nuclear capability in order to deviate attention from the fragile state of the economy and the constant threat of famine.
So, “should we care about a nuclear North Korea?” Given the limitations of the North Korean nuclear program, and the overwhelming military capacities of a South Korea backed by its superpower ally the United States, it is not likely that the recent threats will materialize (except for the case of some miscalculation in a military exercise). Meanwhile, what the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea should really care about are the new economic sanctions imposed by the U.N., unless Mr. Kim Jon-un figures out a way to feed its people with nuclear waste.